Health workers at Sheffield’s Northern General hospital walked out on Monday of this week over pay cuts imposed when management axed thousands of pounds in allowances.
A lunchtime solidarity rally was being held to support the strike – the first at a Sheffield hospital for 30 years – by members of the Unison union in the bulk stores department.
Some 15 staff have been told that attendance and performance payments worth between £3,000 and £4,000 a year will be cut. The staff deliver a variety of disposable medical equipment to the city’s adult hospitals and have already avoided overtime in protest over the cuts.
Overtime allowances have traditionally been seen as part and parcel of their overall pay packet and the cut will lead to severe hardship as they are already badly paid.
On average staff earn £10,000 to £12,000 a year, plus allowances which average from £1,500 to £3,000 depending on how much overtime they put in.
Some will lose £4,000 a year and many others around £50 a week. Julie Thickett, who expects to earn £50 less a week and worries about her pension, said bullying management were attacking the lowest paid.
Julie, who has worked at the hospital for 24 years, said, “I have never been on strike, but we now feel this is our only option.”
Messages of support and donations, cheques payable to “Unison NGH” to Unison office, Vickers Corridor, Northern General hospital, Herries Road, Sheffield S5 7AU. Phone 0114 271 4408. Messages of protest to firstname.lastname@example.org